Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good This stylish second generation S60 arrived in Australia in December 2010, we’re fans of the flowing exterior lines because, it’s possible, you can call this Volvo 'sporty'. A notably wider stance has helped, as the width is up by an impressive 100mm.
Not so good We don’t think it looks best from straight on, with a grille that protrudes further forward than the slightly cross eyed headlights, however from all other angles it’s a fantastically good looking car.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Interior design is very impressive, stylish and clever. Even the big German brands could learn a few lessons from this interior. Aluminium trim looks and feels ‘oh so good’ and the centre console design is classy. We like how it is slightly angled towards the driver. All controls are super easy and logical to use and there are lots of useful storage compartments. Notably roomier than the previous generation model, the S60 sedan features a great driving position with a small diameter steering wheel that feels great to hold. Front and rear, the seats are super comfortable and high quality sound systems are on offer. With top notch fit and finish, even the boot trim drew praise from a couple of friends we showed the S60 to.
Not so good A-pillars are on the thick side preventing perfect visibility, and sports sedan fans might wish for deeper bolstering from the seats when cornering. Rear headrests lack adjustability and rear seat legroom isn't as generous as we'd like. Boot space is on the compact side (and that’s doing without a full size spare wheel).
Performance

Performance

Good There is plenty of choice, as the S60 is available with four different turbocharged engines. The T4 features a 1.6-litre four cylinder turbocharged Direct Injection petrol engine that produces 132kW of power and 240Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the T5 has a 2.0-litre four cylinder turbocharged Direct Injection engine producing 177kW of power and 320Nm of torque. And, the D3 has a five cylinder turbo diesel with 120kW of power and 400Nm of torque. Sitting at the top of the range is the T6 AWD that features a six cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 224kW of power and 440Nm of torque. As the names suggest, the T6 sends power to all four wheels while the entry level T4, the T5 and D3 all send power to the front wheels. Official combined fuel economy is 7.4-litres per 100kms for the T4, 8.6-litres per 100kms for the T5, 5.9-litres for the D3 and 10.2-litres for the T6 AWD. The entry model T4 and T5 model utilise Volvo’s efficient six-speed PowerShift Dual-clutch automatic transmission to maximise economy and performance. While the D3 and T6 share a six-speed Adaptive Geartronic with Neutral Control and Sports mode transmission. The T6 has one heck of an enjoyable power plant. It’s super smooth, has loads of low down torque, and teams up well with the AWD system resulting in minimal to zero wheel slip at takeoff.
Not so good The six-speed transmission doesn’t feel brilliantly matched in the T6; frequently feeling slow or quick to change down a gear, this is most notable as you press down on the accelerator when coming out of a corner. The D3 features the same transmission, yet seems to have less of an issue. The T5 variant is fitted with a 6 speed sequential automatic gearbox. Real world fuel economy of the T6 is only average, we put it down to the heavier than average kerb weight. Whilst good in isolation, the D3 can’t match the smoothness or refinement of the otherwise very impressive T6 engine.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The S60 rides on all new Macpherson struts front and a multi-link rear suspension system. Volvo has firmed up the damping and spring rates in order to aid handling and the overall result is very good. The dynamics are a huge leap forward over the previous generation S60. All grades corner well, flowing nicely through the bends with high levels of grip. This generation mid size Volvo feels well balanced and the ride is smooth, especially across decent highway surfaces. Does the T6 successfully wear the ‘all-weather sports sedan’ tag? We’re a little nervous of the word ‘sports’ but let’s just say that the nicely weighted steering, chassis dynamics and suspension damping are big steps over the last S60.
Not so good The S60 doesn’t handle rough surfaces and potholes as well as some of the competition though this could be a trade off for improved handling. Pocket marked city lanes aren’t as enjoyable as we’d hoped with the ride becoming a little restless. This is not the best back road sports sedan, but is this really such an important trait in this day and age? The steering still lacks the delicacy of the class best, coming up a little short on feel and even the AWD grades can feel a touch nose-heavy under heavy braking if you’re picky.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good High levels of equipment are standard across the range. The T4, T5 and D3 are fitted with leather trim, electric driver’s seat with memory function, an 8 speaker, 7-inch colour screen sound system with USB, aux connection and DVD player, Bluetooth connectivity, electric park brake, climate control air-conditioning with pollen filter, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, split-fold rear seats, rear parking assist and 17-inch alloy wheels. The T6 adds a 12 speakers, Dolby Pro Logic II Surround System, satellite navigation, electric seat adjustment with memory function for both the driver and passenger, front park assist and 18-inch alloy wheels. As the brand name is famous for safety, all S60’s come standard with front, side and curtain airbags, and a host of electronic active safety features. One such feature is City Safety, which uses laser radar to stop low speed nose to tail crashes (below 30km/h) is fitted to all variants. Very clever. Other notable features include adaptive cruise control and a pedestrian detection system.
Not so good New technology doesn’t come cheap so the adaptive cruise control with pedestrian detection system, the blind spot detection system and lane departure warning is an optional cost. At least Volvo Australia is bundling them all together in a package called ‘Driver Support’ so you don’t have to rank which is the most important potentially lifesaving option to choose from.